Monday, June 20, 2016

Great Information

Jackie Robinson made history in many different ways and his courage was phenomenal. Oppression, injustice, and bigotry couldn’t stop him from achieving his goals and dreams. He loved athletics, but he also loved his family greatly. From confronting the racism of white racists to confronting the extremism of the Goldwater campaign, he was politically aware and his social activism is well known. He lived during the times of extreme anti-Communism (during the Cold War), of Jim Crow (where many laws not only violated the human rights of black Americans, but many corporate institutions permitted such discriminatory policies), of the Vietnam War, of the civil rights movement, of the counterculture, and the other changes going on in the culture of American society in general. There was also massive unionization during the 1930's where workers of many races fought against the anti-worker policies of many businesses. During 1945 and 1956, more than 4 million Americans were on strike for their rights. During that time period, more than 500,000 black people were in CIO unions. Many great people fought against discrimination and injustice as well. In the midst of all of these occurrences, Jackie Robinson had an inner core which existed from his parents and from his friends around him. Movies, documentaries, and other modes of media cover his life comprehensively (like the movie 42 and the excellent Ken Burns documentary called Jackie Robinson. When I first saw that documentary, I was amazed at the detail of it and how great in scope it is). Likewise, we ought to appreciate the sacrifice, the determination, and the heroism of his life. When some people were afraid to speak out against injustice, he was in the front lines to oppose legalized apartheid decades ago. He had allies and adversaries among many quarters. Yet, he grew his consciousness to see how protecting the rights of all is important along with building in our black community. He loved his wife. His wife is still here promoting the same causes that he advanced when he was alive. Also, the struggle continues. We know that must continue to fight for racial, social, environmental, and gender justice. Social justice doesn’t just involve demonstrations, strategies, and organization. It also involves an active program to achieve economic and social justice. Therefore, we learn the lessons of the past, so we can develop a better future.

The rebellion in Attica took place in September of 1971. It has been 45 years since the events in Attica started. Also, during the time of 1971 saw the harsh war of Vietnam and the anticolonial movements of the world growing. Back then, the civil rights and black liberation movement was in a new era after Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s evil assassination. Many black people were in the fight. Reactionaries promoted the “get tough on crime” rhetoric when many of those “anti-crime” policies violated civil liberties & other human rights. Richard Nixon was President of the United States and he used policies to illegally suppress social activist groups like the Black Panthers, anti-war groups, Native American rights organizations, and labor rights organizations. The Governor of New York State back then was Nelson Rockefeller. The prison industrial complex back then was filled with corruption, human exploitation, horrible conditions, and a sense of carnage. Also, revolutionaries in the prison system wrote literature and spoke up for not only the improvement of conditions in prisons. They desired revolutionary change for the oppressed in general, so liberation can happen. Regardless of where we live, we are still human beings. Human dignity and human decency are great concepts to advance in any society. Back then, prison strikes were common and many prisoners created truces along racial lines in seeing that the capitalist oligarchy was responsible for the unequal, oppressive system that we witness in the world today. The Attica rebellion took great influence from the work of Brother George Jackson. George Jackson was a Black Panther and he was in prison. He wrote literature to criticize capitalist exploitation and the harsh conditions of prisons nationwide. Two of his very famous books are "Soledad Brother" and "Blood in My Eye." George Jackson was killed in an event in prison. After that, many prisoners nationwide couldn’t take the abuse and mistreatment anymore. Soon afterwards, the Attica Rebellion happened.

The Black Power movement had many factions. There was the growth of Black Nationalism in the 1960’s. One part of the Black Power Movement was the revolutionary organizations like the Black Panther Party, RAM, Black Labor Federation, and other progressive organizations. There were the more conservative faction of the Black Power movement too that focus on mostly capitalist terms that talked about “Buy Black” campaigns and black capitalism. That faction felt that following black capitalism was key to have social and political power. Other advocates wanted to follow electoral campaign to grow power too. Later, many black revolutionaries would follow electoral reformism and adhere to the Democratic Party in the 1970’s and beyond. Conservative policies have its roots from the black capitalist ideals of Booker R. Washington. These ideas were adopted by CORE Director Roy Innis by the late 1960’s. He wanted black people to build a "nation within a nation" and develop "Black control of capitalist instruments." Once, CORE worked within the system. Later, CORE used nonviolent direct action to fight Jim Crow apartheid in the South. By the mid-1960’s, CORE leadership started to reject nonviolence and followed Black Nationalism. They became more right wing by the end of the 1960’s. Farmer resigned as director of CORE in 1966. CORE’s leader was once Floyd McKissick. McKissick and his successor Roy Innis wanted to accept government and corporate grants instead of financial support of liberals. One major chairperson of the Black Power conference in Newark, New Jersey in July 1967 was lifelong republican Nathan Wright Jr. Wright would go on to be supportive of Nixon and Ronald Reagan. Cultural nationalists reject political struggle and wanted solely a cultural embrace of African culture (in a conservative orientation). I have no problem with embracing the beauty of African culture, but I believe in social activism & confronting classism too. In 1968, Innis declared CORE to be a Black nationalist and separatist organization. But the group continued to work for Black Democratic candidates. Many left-wingers left the organization, including the entire Brooklyn branch. CORE later rejected direct action. By the early 1970’s, CORE was very conservative, supported Nixon and Innis would be a Republican. Many people who claimed to black nationalists were actually those who wanted a piece of the pie not true revolutionary change.

Recently, Jo Cox was murdered by a 52 year old person named Tommy Mair. Jo Cox was the Labour MP for Batley and Spen, West Yorkshire. Her murder has shocked people all over Britain and all over the Earth. Jo Cox was a 41 year old mother of two. This was the first murder of an MP in Britain for more than 25 years. Cox was stabbed multiple times with a hunting knife and shot three times. Such an act is evil and reprehensible. There is also the hypocrisy of the political establishment and the media. We know that Mair was a former psychiatric patient. He had mental problems and he was described as a quiet “loner.”  Mair was a far right person with chauvinist, bigoted views. Eyewitnesses have said that Mair shouted “Britain First” several times during the attack. This is the slogan that has support for the Leave camp in the vote of Britain’s membership of the European Union. Cox was not only a prominent supporter of the Remain vote in the June 23 referendum. She publicly campaigned in defense of Syrian refugees being admitted to the UK. In January of 2016, she denounced via Twitter a demonstration in support of a vote to leave the EU held near her constituency by the neo-fascist and anti-immigrant organization, Britain First. The police found Nazi regalia and far right literature from Mair’s home. Sources close to the investigation believed that Mair waited for Cox before he attacked her. Mair bought books from the neo-Nazi U.S. based group of National Alliance. National Alliance was created by William Pierce (a racist who wore the racist tract of the Turner Diaries). Mair also had guides on how to make homemade explosives, guns, and a copy of Ich Kampfe, a handbook for members of Hitler’s Nazi Party. He had also subscribed to the South African white supremacist S.A. Patriot. The murder of Cox was evil.

Also, we know that we have a new tide of nationalist and xenophobic hate spread by the Leave campaign, by Donald Trump, and others in the run up to the referendum. Just hours before Cox was slain, Nigel Farage, leader of the far-right anti-immigrant UK Independence Party and spokesman for the Leave camp, unveiled the latest poster for a Leave vote, depicting a long line of refugees and the slogan “Breaking Point. The EU has failed us all.” Even members of the Labour Party such as Alan Johnson, Ed Balls and Tom Watson have taken to the air to insist that a Fortress Europe is the best means of stopping migration, and to call for restrictions on the right of free movement. Of course, I don't agree with the Fortress Europe agenda. There is the Remain campaign too. Parliament is giving tributes to Cox. The Conservatives and Liberal Democrats agreed not to contest a future by-election in Cox’s former seat as a show of unity and to supposedly heal divisions over the referendum. This crime shows the link of far right forces in the Leave camp and the Conservative Party plus the Murdoch press. The referendum is a reality as a product of Cameron trying to maintain power. There is the UKIP’s anti-immigrant xenophobia too. In Europe, fascism is growing. From Austria’s Freedom Party, France’s National Front and Germany’s AfD, to Donald Trump’s presidential candidacy in the United States and Rodrigo Duterte’s authoritarian regime in the Philippines, the bourgeoisie is responding to the growth of anti-capitalist sentiment and working class resistance by turning to police state methods and seeking to divert popular discontent along reactionary channels. I disagree with the EU for its reactionary policies (of austerity and being allies of the big multinational banks) not for nationalistic reasons. In other words, foreigners who want justice aren’t our enemies. Refugees who seek asylum and human dignity aren’t our enemies either. In the final analysis, we want working people and the poor to unite to promote a real revolution. We abhor racism, chauvinism, xenophobia, and jingoistic nationalism. We want real freedom to be made real for all.

By Timothy

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